Atletico Madrid v Malaga: Red-hot Torres out to keep title chase alive
Fernando Torres hopes his superb form will keep Atletico Madrid firmly in the title race as they prepare to host Malaga on Saturday.
The 32-year-old scored the only goal of the game at San Mames as Diego Simeone's side beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 on Wednesday to stay level on points with Liga leaders Barcelona.
Torres has netted in each of his last five matches - the best such run of his entire career - and has proven a driving force behind Atleti's four-game winning run in the top flight.
With just four matches left to play, the former Liverpool striker wants to maintain his ruthless streak when Javi Gracia's side visit the Vicente Calderon.
"It was the most important match because it was the one we had now. It is not easy coming to San Mames and winning," he said.
"It is an important step. We are following a very positive line of results and now, we have to think about the next game.
"I'm happy because the goals are helping my team get the points, and that helps to bring us closer to our goals. We go step by step."
Malaga, by contrast, head into the match on the back of a barren spell in front of goal that has derailed their hopes for a hugely respectable top-seven finish.
Gracia's side have scored just four times in their last six league games and they have failed to win since Ignacio Camacho netted a solitary late goal away to Real Betis on March 19.
While Gracia has warned his players not to consider themselves simply unlucky, he remains confident they will recapture their goalscoring touch and finish the campaign on a high.
"It's not just a case of bad luck, we must seek ways to improve further, as this is happening to us continually, it's not just a blip," he said after Malaga's 1-1 home draw with Rayo Vallecano this week. "We're doing something wrong when we're not able to make the chances we have count.
"There's definitely work to do to better ourselves and the truth is there's not much time left. We have had times throughout the season where we didn't even see the goal, and others where we were more fortunate. I trust that in the last four games, we'll enjoy more goals in our favour."
Malaga's quest for goals could be helped should Diego Godin be sidelined on Saturday. The centre-back suffered a hamstring injury against Athletic and, with Atletico awaiting test results on the problem, he could be rested ahead of the Champions League semi-final first leg with Bayern Munich next week.
Tiago trained again with the first team on Thursday, but is still recovering from a broken leg, while Oliver Torres (adductor) and Jose Gimenez (Achilles) are set to be out.
Juankar (ankle) is a doubt for Malaga, but Gracia has an otherwise full squad to choose from, as he looks to mastermind a league double over Simeone following their 1-0 win at La Rosaleda in December.